Worst. Wake-up Call. Ever.

I wake up in pain with The Family Guy playing on the TV. It looks like the TV timer hasn’t turned off yet, meaning that I’ve been asleep for less than 120 minutes. What’s wrong with my stomach? Holy cow does this hurt. Oh this is bad. What did I do?

Ever have a night like that? Maybe it wasn’t your stomach; it could’ve been your back, neck or something else, but there’s nothing worse than waking up in pain. You’re confused because you still have sleep in your eyes, you’re disoriented and this … thing is gnawing at you, and you can’t quite figure out why.

Unfortunately, the incident described earlier was what happened to me last night, and it’s not the first time I’ve woken up in pain. It happened once before a few months back, which resulted in an embarrassing phone call to my boss to explain that my broken toe was really a condition that’s rare in someone of my age. It’s also happened a few times with my back because of the quality of our bed, something that my wife and I are working on currently.

So what did I do in these situations? It was a process.

  1. Assess the Situation. First thing I do is try to determine where the pain is coming from and why it could be happening. I need to gather as much information as possible to determine the problem, that way I can explain things to my doctor in a clear and concise fashion. Sometimes I even take notes.
  2. Address the Issue. When my toe felt like it was being sheared off my body, I knew that something was wrong. Once I knew it was just my big toe and not the rest of my foot, I decided that I needed to make an appointment first thing the next day. I knew it wasn’t an issue that necessitated a hospital visit, so to fix the pain right then, I took a few Ibuprofen as a stop gap. The next morning, I was in to see the doc.
  3. Don’t Freak Out. I have a tendency to overreact in these situations. It’s something I’ve always done, so since I know myself well enough at this point, I have my moment and then try to calm down and rationalize things. With the foot incident, I swore I needed to go to the hospital at that point, and it turns out that calming down and waiting was a better idea. Yes, if there’s blood or other issues involved, going to the ER is a good call. But if it’s a bit more vague, make sure you have your bearings first.

Last night’s incident had more to do with poor decision making on Memorial Day than it did with a medical problem, but it did make me think about the other times that it happened. When you’re in pain, make sure you calm down and think things through for a bit before you react. It always helps me, and it might help you too.

Feature image via KOMUnews on Flickr


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